​‘The Light of the World’ Reading


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
An original play written by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder, Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence and visiting professor of English at the University of the South, will be read at 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 24, in Convocation Hall. A reception will follow and the event is free and open to the public.
“The Light of the World” will be directed by Freddie Ashley, artistic director for Actor’s Express in Atlanta, and performed by Jim Crawford, associate professor of theatre at the University, as well as professional actors from Atlanta and Nashville.
The play revolves around the controversy of a small Confederate flag in a church window.
“It’s a story about a church in the South,” said Wilder. “And, there’s a new priest. When a violent incident occurs, the presence of the Confederate flag in their window is called into question. Basically, the church must decide how they want to deal with the issue and how much of the past they want to continue to honor versus who their church is now. It’s a story about confronting and taking responsibility for our past,” Wilder said.
Wilder, who is originally from Mobile, Ala., said the idea for the play came to her a few years ago after visiting a church in Alabama that had a Confederate flag in its window.
“The message the flag sends is so in opposition of what Christianity sends in terms of equality and fairness and justice. That people thought it was a good idea to have these two representations together is something I wanted to explore,” she said. “I hope everyone is entertained, but I also hope it helps promote conversation and dialogue. I think that’s a big part of what theatre is here to do. The play isn’t just about confederate iconography—it addresses our relationship with the word racist and with racism, how we often justify the actions of others that we know to be racist and how we often apologize away those actions in the conversations we have.”
The play was read for the first time in October of last year as part of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s southern writers branch.
“That was the first time I heard the play out loud and in front of an audience. I received some really great feedback that I’ve been able to apply to a new draft,” Wilder said.
“I am particularly excited to do the play in Sewanee because it’s an issue that the University is currently grappling on their own. I think the work that is being done through the reconciliation project is incredibly important to the school and the community because it’s not just a reflection of who we are and it’s a reflection of who we hope to become.”
Ashley of Actor’s Express said the reading will provide an access point to a difficult, but crucial conversation about race.
“I think all of us in the south today are continuing to grapple with our history, and to fully understand it can be a fraught process. When we have a story about people doing just that, there’s a lot of value to it,” he said. “I think that all of us who live in the south, all of us have a shared responsibility to confront our history. No matter what our immediate circumstances are in our life, we are the inheritors of this legacy of racism and violence against African Americans. How that has filtered through to today is something that is necessary to explore so we can continue to move forward toward unity. It’s an easy trap to fall into that those problems are the problems of the past. In fact, the residue of that legacy continues to stick to us even now.”
Ashley and Wilder have known each other for about 15 years, but this weekend will be the first time they’ll get to work together. The group of actors will rehearse on Saturday for the first time, and Gregory Wilder said she will be working on the play up until Friday evening.
“Different readings take on different forms, but the typical set up you could expect is the actors will be standing behind music stands reading from the script,” Ashley said. “I think one of the great things art can do is create space that will hold difficult conversations. Everybody who attends a play is at once having a private personal experience with their own reactions. They’re also having a shared experience with everyone that is there. That can be said about the way we go through our lives too. When you can create a space through a piece of work that allows the space in between to be a place of conversation, that’s huge. Art can facilitate that in a way other outlets may not be able to.”
This event is funded by the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.

​Askew Opens Art Gallery


by Sarah Beavers, Messenger Staff Writer
Bob Askew, a longtime resident of Sewanee, recently opened up his own art gallery in the old SUD shop behind Woody’s Bicycles in downtown Sewanee.
Askew has been a professional artist for more than a decade. Prior to his full-time art career, he worked in Career Services at the University.
Askew started college as an art major, born out of a life long love of art. He soon switched majors and graduated from the University of Alabama-Huntsville with a bachelors degree in Business Finance. Askew’s love of art ensured he took art classes throughout college.
“I rely on my sketchbook and practice everyday,” Askew said while thumbing through his many sketchbooks. It is clear from the breadth and scope of his work tucked away in those sketchbooks that practice does make perfect, or very nearly there.
Askew has been a fixture of the Sewanee community for many years and has worn a variety of hats, working with the Rotary Club, Friday School at Sewanee Elementary, to a sketch group that meets on Saturday.
“It’s important to get people involved in arts,” Askew said of his community involvement. “Some of the best experiences I have had is teaching. When a person teaches what they know, it’s a great gift for all those involved.”
The gallery opening is the beginning of a new chapter in Askew’s career. The future of the studio is bright because “Sewanee supports creative people,” said Askew. His gallery is a labor of love, and Askew credits his wife, Susan, with his success.
“I have to give Susan a lot of credit for supporting me because it has been a long, slow journey,” said Askew.
Askew plans on having a still life exhibition in March, and an exhibition of artwork from local elementary school students in the future.
The Askew Art Gallery is located at 12547 Sollace M. Freeman Hwy., Sewanee. The gallery is open 10 a.m.–3 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, or by appointment. Email Askew at <bobaskew@askewart.com> to inquire about the Saturday sketching group.

​Recovering Sewanee’s Black History: What Is Needed


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“Sewanee was founded by white southern men, but there were black people here from the beginning and nobody can find anything about their history,” said Shirley Taylor. Taylor serves on the newly formed Sewanee Black History Community Advisory Board and the Sewanee Black History Days working group. An African-American born and raised in Sewanee who’s lived here for 65 years, Taylor is well suited for the dual roles. The two entities share overlapping missions and roots in the Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation.
The Sewanee Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation originated as a University initiative driven by faculty, staff and students.
“We wanted to involve local people in the project and give them a voice at the table to diversify perspectives,” said project coordinator Woody Register, a University history professor. “You can’t reach out to the community unless you’re willing to listen to them.”
Visiting professor Jody Allen suggested creating a community advisory board. Director of the reconciliation project at the College of William and Mary, Allen spent last year in Sewanee teaching and advising the Sewanee reconciliation project. For the advisory board, Allen and Register reached out to people outside the University who believed in the work they were doing, notably several African-Americans like Taylor and Jimmy Staten who were born and raised in Sewanee, and Sewanee business owner Bruce Manuel, C’80, who teaches Pilates.
Register pulled together the Sewanee Black History Days working group to help coordinate two upcoming events designed to recover and preserve Sewanee’s African-American history, a project funded by a $12,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Common Heritage grant.
Scheduled for May 27, Memorial Day, and July 5, at St. Mark’s Community Center, the events will offer African-Americans with Sewanee roots an opportunity to record oral histories, to locate Sewanee sites of importance to African-Americans on a large map, and to have personal historical material photographed or scanned. They’ll receive a digital copy and be invited to share a digital copy with the University archives.
The traditional archiving method is to take possession of the material, Register emphasized—“We’re going against that model, changing the politics of archiving.” People will return home with their treasured photographs, scrapbooks, bibles and other memorabilia safely in tow.
The map initiative will invite people to locate family homes and sites meaningful to them such as favorite childhood places to play by marking the map with Post-It notes inscribed with memories and details.
Key in organizing the events is working group member Carl Hill, an African-American born and raised in Sewanee who coordinates the black community’s annual Memorial Day homecoming at St. Marks.
“People off the mountain titled us Sewaneeseans,” said Hill who now lives in McMinnville. “Sewanee is still my home. I’m just living abroad,” he joked.
Hill stressed how drastically the African-American community had “thinned out” since the 1970s. “A much larger black community lived and worked on the Mountain then.” He estimates there were as many as 50 black families in the 1970s and today, maybe a dozen.
Hill sees his role as reaching out to older people who grew up in Sewanee like Sandra Turner Davis whose Sewanee childhood story spans the time frame of the mid fifties and sixties and Atlanta resident Charlie Bright who lived in Sewanee from the late 1930s to the late 1950s.
“Carl knows everyone,” Register said. In forming the working group, Register sought out people with Sewanee roots who could be ambassadors.
In addition to the summer digitization days, other events are planned for this spring including genealogy and oral history workshops.
“We hope these kinds of endeavors strengthen community bonds and connections to the community, in light of the history of race, in a way that’s constructive and positive,” said Register.

​‘Mine 21’: Future Plans


This past fall, the short documentary “Mine 21” about the fatal coal mine explosion in Marion County was screened several times in Monteagle, Sewanee and Whitwell. It was estimated more than 1,300 people came to the screenings.
The film follows Kelsey Arbuckle and Alexa Fults, both from Grundy County and current students at Sewanee, as they find out more about this event. The disaster took place in Whitwell, Tenn., on Dec. 8, 1981, and 13 miners died. The effect in Marion and Grundy counties was tragic.
Arbuckle’s grandfather, Charles Myers was one of the miners killed in the explosion. Her grandmother, Barbara Myers, testified before Congress in the 1987 federal lawsuit.
Fults’ fifth great-uncle, Thomas Wooten, discovered coal on the Plateau in 1852. She was writing a research paper exploring the effects of the collapse of the coal mining industry on the local economy when Arbuckle asked her to be part of this project.
“We were overwhelmed by the response at the screenings,” said Chris McDonough, a professor at the University of the South and the film’s executive producer. “Many people came up to me or to Kelsey and Alexa to ask what would be happening next with the documentary. A few people have contacted me about other screenings or buying a copy of the documentary.”
“I want to let people know we haven’t forgotten these requests, and I appreciate everybody’s patience,” said McDonough. “Right now, the film is only 15 minutes long. That’s entirely due to budget constraints. Since the fall, we’ve been able to secure more funds and are looking to expand the film. I’ve been in touch with the PBS stations in Chattanooga and Nashville, and they are very interested in broadcasting the documentary once it is at least a half-hour long.”
McDonough and his crew have plans for additional filming this spring, and hope to be able to get something onto television in the months to follow.
“This is such an important story,” McDonough said. “Not only for people in this area, but for anybody interested in coal mining. We will certainly be screening the longer version locally, once it is completed.”

To see the trailer and for more information, go to www.mine21.com

​Monteagle Approves $400,000 for Fire Hall


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At a special called meeting Feb. 12, the Monteagle City Council approved spending up to $400,000 for a new fire hall.
“We met with St. John Engineering, and we have a preliminary site plan,” said Vice Mayor Tony Gilliam.
The design calls for locating the 88 foot by 65 foot metal building on the lot where the former fire hall was located, at the corner of College Street and North Central Avenue. Interior specifics include a day room with a warming kitchen, training room, laundry, and a 53 foot by 65 foot three bay apparatus room with three 12-foot-high glass doors. Faux stone veneer would cover the lower three feet of the exterior.
“The aesthetics need to fit in with what’s around it,” Gilliam said.
“With a few minor changes it’s about what we envisioned,” said Fire Chief Mike Holmes. Holmes suggested several design modifications that “would make the building more functional to us as a department, but wouldn’t affect the footprint.”
Holmes recommended increasing the apparatus doors’ height to 14 feet. “Decherd Fire Department recently got a new ladder truck and had to notch their building and increase the door height to get the truck inside. So much goes on a truck now, and you can’t make them any wider so they need to get taller.”
Holmes also suggested a rear door to the apparatus room so trucks parked in the rear could exit the building without being blocked by trucks parked in the front.
The fire department will continue to use a small building on the rear of the lot, but Holmes expressed concern about inadequate drainage. “The building floods badly. It terrifies me when I unplug a truck standing in ankle deep water.”
The site plan would include storm drains Gilliam reassured him.
“We need to set a budget,” said Alderwoman Rebecca Byers.
“We’re going to build what we can afford to build,” Gilliam stressed. Monteagle’s budget includes $468,000 for a new fire hall. “I talked to a couple folks and we’re looking at a $350,000 price range.” Gilliam recommended and the council approved setting a ceiling of $400,000 on the construction cost.
A final design plan is needed from the engineers to determine a more accurate cost estimate.
Holmes asked for approval to pursue readily available grant opportunities to purchase a new cascade system so the department could fill their air bottles to capacity, an extractor dryer to clean turnout gear, and an exhaust system to remove vehicle fumes.
“I’m all for grants. Now’s the time to start,” Byers said.
The council meets in regular session on Feb. 25.

​Phillips Winner of the Aiken Taylor Award


The winner of the Sewanee Review’s 2019 Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry is Carl Phillips. Phillips has authored 14 books of poetry, including “Wild is the Wind” (2018) and “Reconnaissance” (2015), as well as two books of criticism: “The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination,” and “Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry.” He has received numerous literary honors, including the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award.
The 33rd Aiken Taylor celebration will take place Feb. 26 and 27. University Vice-Chancellor John McCardell and Sewanee Review editor Adam Ross will present Phillips with the award at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 27, in Convocation Hall, after which Phillips will read from his body of work. On Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 4:30 p.m., poet, novelist, and critic Garth Greenwell will lecture on Phillips’ poetry in the McGriff Alumni House. Greenwell is the author of “What Belongs to You,” and is currently the John & Renee Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi.
Phillips’ poems reveal a searching intelligence, and a curiosity about the world at its most elemental. In his poem, “Sky Coming Forward,” from his National Book Award-nominated collection Double Shadow, he asks, “What if, between this one and the one / we hoped for, there’s a third life, taking its own / slow, dreamlike hold, even now—blooming, in spite of us?” Such questions of impermanence suffuse his work, and encourage us to approach the poems (and, perhaps, our own experiences) with the same ineffable wonder. As Garth Greenwell explains, “Phillips has fashioned himself as our great searching poet of ambivalence—ambivalence conceived not (as we sometimes use the word) as signifying vague or unformed feelings, but instead opposing desires held in suspension, exactingly measured and found to be of equal weight.”

​School Board Authorizes Wage Scale Changes; Middle School Update


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Feb. 11 meeting, the Franklin County School Board authorized several wage scale changes recommended by Assistant Superintendent Linda Foster. The board also heard an update on roofing materials for the new middle schools.
Foster proposed changing the salary scale for certified employees with a doctorate degree and those with a master’s degree plus 30 accredited semester hours to allow for yearly salary increases. In 2015, the school system adopted the state recommended step-increase practice, where educators in those two categories only received raises every several years.
Foster said no teachers were impacted by the step-increase practice since it was implemented, but that would change in the coming year. “We have three teachers getting their doctorate degree, and if we can’t pay them, they may not stay. I don’t think the step-increase practice has been to our advantage.”
School board member Sara Liechty concurred. “We know current employees didn’t lose any money, but we don’t know how many teachers didn’t come to us because of the salary scale.”
The board also approved Foster’s recommendation for adopting a salary range based on years of service for the director of maintenance and director of nutrition positions, with experience and education also taken into account. Foster explained that if a need should arise to replace the employees now in these positions, the school system might not want to pay the current rate to the new hire.
Similarly, the board approved Foster’s recommendation to create a wage scale for new hire technical specialists based on skill level and experience.
To address the problem of chronic absenteeism, the board approved creating a new position to join attendance supervisor Delinda McDonald in visiting parents and to serve as a liaison between the schools and courts.
Responding to the popularity of the fishing club and the request of Franklin County High School Principal Roger Alsup, the board authorized allocating a small coaching supplement for fishing.
Alsup also requested an instructional supplement for the band director to pay for an assistant. “The band director typically leaves the school with 60-80 students,” Foster pointed out. “That’s a lot of students to supervise.”
The board withheld a decision pending more information about how to best categorize the expense.
Director of Schools Stanley Bean updated the board on research into materials for reroofing the gyms at the new middle schools. The extant gyms will be retained and reroofed in conjunction with the new school construction. Several county commissioners favored replacing the current roofs with metal roofs citing the 30-year warranty.
“A metal roof isn’t feasible,” Bean explained. The weight of a metal roof would be excessive, and the roofs’ dome design required gutters—“Metal gutters are for straight lines, not curved.”
Addressing the suggestion the adjacent new schools have metal roofs rather than membrane roofs, Bean cited several obstacles including far higher initial material costs and increased cost due to the need for walkways to access air conditioning and heating units. Bean also pointed out the warranty was just five years less for a membrane roof and the new membrane material was far easier to mend than the membrane roofing material on the existing schools.
Looking ahead to student transportation during the construction process, Bean said, “I’m working with the principals on how to get the children in and out of the schools. We may need some temporary roads. It’s going to be a pain, but we’ll have to suffer through it.”
The school board meets next on March 11.

​SCA Activities Update; Cultivating Happiness Tips


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
How to survive the winter fog blues? The Community Chest fundraising update and a call for person of the year nominations at the Feb. 7 Sewanee Civic Association dinner meeting illustrated one of the key strategies for happiness recommended by the evening’s speaker: practice gratitude.
The Sewanee Community Chest supports 25 initiatives that enhance the quality of life in Sewanee and the surrounding vicinity, Blue Monarch addiction services, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Sewanee Elementary School and the Sewanee Senior Citizens Center, to name only a few. Member-at-large Jade Barry announced the Community Chest had raised $80,958 toward its goal, with $24,414 still needed. Barry urged community members to donate now. The campaign ends March 31. Mail donations to P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375 or donate online by visiting sewaneecivic.org. To track the campaign and learn more about funding recipients, visit the thermometer display outside the post office.
President Theresa Shackelford called for nominations for SCA’s annual award. Now in the 36th year, the Person of the Year Award honors a community member for outstanding volunteer work. Send nominations to P.O. Box 222, Sewanee, TN 37375 or email account sewaneecommunitychest@gmail.com. The deadline for making nominations is March 15. Please include a brief narrative explaining why the nominee deserves recognition.
Speaker John K. Coffey, assistant professor of psychology at the University of the South, specializes in positive developmental psychology. His research investigating “happiness” from infancy through adulthood often spans three or more decades.
To measure happiness researchers track the frequency of positive emotions, the frequency of negative emotions, and a person’s degree of life satisfaction, Coffey said.
According to Coffey, “Research shows how happy an infant is at 18 months predicts how far the child will go in college.” Coffey cited a correlation between a high degree of happiness and community involvement, skill at relationship building, better health and longevity, a productive, lucrative work life, and activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex where problem solving and other complex thinking occurs.
Climate has relatively little effect on happiness, Coffey noted. Scandinavian countries with cold climates and low levels of daylight in the winter are among the happiest, he said. Also interesting, the effect of income on happiness plateaus at $70,000. Above that, happiness doesn’t increase with increased earnings. Low income, conversely, has a far more striking impact.
How do we get to happy? The biggest drivers of happiness are things in life over which people have control, Coffey stressed. Top on the list of strategies Coffey recommended were savoring life and practicing gratitude which promoted building relationships. Similarly, he advocated actively cultivating relationships and being involved. He also emphasized physical activity as key.
Coffey advised against excessive screen time. “TV neutralizes emotions,” Coffey said. “And screen time on computers and cell phones actually makes us less happy. Studies show that limiting social media time to 30 minutes a day decreases depression and loneliness. On the average, people interact with their smart phones 2,400 times a day.”
“Happiness helps us build a skill set of behaviors, like being involved, that help us when we’re not happy,” Coffey said noting the upward spiral effect of happiness. Does happiness matter? Coffey insisted, “absolutely.”
The SCA meets next on March 7.

​Vienna Boys Choir to Perform in Sewanee

The Vienna Boys Choir, with Jimmy Chiang, conductor, will perform in Sewanee at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 1, in All Saints’ Chapel. Tickets are $20. Call Hilary Ward at (931) 598-1225 or email <hrward@sewanee.edu> to purchase tickets. Tickets for Sewanee students, faculty and staff are free.

Boys have been singing at the Viennese court since the 14th century, and in 1498, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I moved his court and his court musicians to Vienna. Historians have settled on 1498 as the foundation date of the Vienna Chapel Imperial (Hofmusikkapelle) and thus the Vienna Boys Choir. Until 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the imperial court, at mass, concerts, private functions, and on state occasions.
Today, the Vienna Boys Choir consists of 100 boys between the ages of 10 and 14, from dozens of nations, divided into four touring groups. Each group spends nine to 11 weeks of the school year on tour. Between them, the four choirs give 300 concerts and performances each year before almost half a million people. They visit virtually all European countries, and are frequent guests in Asia, Australia, and the Americas.
The choir’s repertoire includes everything from medieval to contemporary and experimental music. Motets and lieder for boys’ choir form the core of the touring repertoire, as do the choir’s own arrangements of quintessentially Viennese music like waltzes and polkas by Lanner, Lehár, and Strauss.
The Vienna Boys Choir performs major choral and symphonic works as part of the Hofmusikkapelle, and with other orchestras and adult choirs. They are regularly asked to supply soloists for large choral and orchestral works, such as Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. Both the choir and the Chapel Imperial have a long tradition of commissioning new works, going back to Imperial times, when composers like Mozart, Haydn, and Bruckner wrote for the ensemble. Austrian composers Heinz Kratochwil, Balduin Sulzer, Wolfram Wagner, and Gerald Wirth have written works for today’s boys. Benjamin Britten penned a vaudeville which could be performed on tours, and Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin wrote her Land of Sweeping Plains for them. Over the last century, the choir has worked with some of the greatest conductors of the genre, for example Böhm, Furtwängler, Karajan, Mitropoulos, Toscanini, Walter, Bernstein, Boulez and Harnoncourt. In more recent times, the boys have been invited to collaborate with Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Marc Minkowski, Riccardo Muti, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Christian Thielemann, Michael Tilson Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst, Simone Young and many others. The choir also takes part in opera performances at the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Volksoper, and the Salzburg Festival.

​SSO and CSO, ‘Side-by-Side’ Concert


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
A partnership years in the making between the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra and the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Opera, will culminate with a 7:30 p.m. performance on Saturday, Feb. 9, in Guerry Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.
Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of the College, the concert will highlight University students in principal roles playing alongside professional musicians from one of the leading orchestras in the region. Visiting assistant professor Peter Povey will play a violin piece inspired by the opera Carmen.
“In 2017, with the support of John Kilkenny, we created partnership with the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, and last year, some of the CSO youth orchestra students attended,” said César Leal, artistic director of the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and assistant professor of musicology at the University. “The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera is a large organization. It oversees the professional orchestra as well as the youth orchestras and we’re talking about hundreds of kids that might find Sewanee a viable institution to pursue musical studies. It’s logical to connect these two organizations.”
Leal said the opportunity for the Sewanee students to maintain their leadership roles while playing alongside professionals is a unique opportunity and one that he sees as invaluable for the students.
“Students get the chance to see how professional musicians approach their métier, to observe the work ethic of professional musicians and to experience their incredible sense of responsibility and love for music. Sewanee students see a role model and point of reference outside of what is familiar to them in their teachers, and it’s a way to feel mentored as well,” Leal said. “The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera members are here to mentor and play alongside students. The center of the concert is the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra. Multiple solo passages, for instance, feature mostly our amazing students.”
Leal also spoke of what a rare opportunity it is to share the podium with a female leader in the music industry. He said the impact of seeing Kayoko Dan, musical director of the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and Opera, at the podium is immense to the young female musicians.
“In southern culture, and in the world of orchestra conducting in general, it is uncommon to see women as conductors or artistic directors. It is really important for our culture as a whole and empowering for our students and for women of all ages to be able to see a woman at the podium,” he said.
In addition to learning from partnerships like that with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and Opera, students in the SSO also participate in the Artistic Leadership Program (ALP), which provides training in management and leadership.
“Students from the ALP have been attending professional trainings by Samantha Teter, CSO executive director, and Dr. Dan, and that is truly important because ALP students run the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra, and they do so in a very professional manner,” he said. “Something that I find really important, and I can’t emphasize this strongly enough, is that these trainings were led by women. Music is still a male-dominated field and, unfortunately, there are not women in charge of professional orchestras. We are very lucky to have women in such high-profile roles empowering our students.”
It is the influence of guest conductors like Dan and partnerships with professionals at the CSO that Leal said he hopes to see foster growth among the student musicians in the orchestra.
“Ours is the only orchestra in 20-30 miles around and to work to establish a regional presence is a good way not only to expose the students to a larger audience but to teach them about the role of music in social transformation,” Leal said. “This is one of the few classes that students are able to take eight times. In a way, it’s a 4-year course. We are aware of the importance of music in the community, and this is an opportunity for us to think about the responsibilities we have as an orchestra within this region.”

​Sewanee Village Quality of Life Priorities


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“What are the important things to consider in setting guidelines for how things look and feel in the Village?” asked Frank Gladu inviting residents’ input on quality of life consideration at the Feb. 5 Sewanee Village update meeting. Residents’ priority concerns included lighting, both too much and not enough, promoting foot and bike travel, and parking.
Sid Brown championed “dark sky lighting” like that in the area of the observatory which “protects the light from going up into the sky so we can see the stars. There’s already too much light in my neighborhood.”
Others like Sandra Johnson pointed to inadequately lit walkways. “My granddaughter said it was scary at night going from the dorm through alleyways to some buildings.” Johnson recommended increasing “indirect lighting” like that she’d encountered on other campuses that lit the walkway but not the sky.
Discussing how to encourage people to walk rather than drive, Stephen Burnett said, “A big part of walkability is destination, somewhere to walk to.”
“One of the principles of the Village Plan is to create walkability,” Gladu said, “walkability defined as a five-minute or quarter mile walk.” He suggested remote parking might have the goal of conforming to this criterion.
Brown stressed “the importance of making the trip from the remote parking pretty so you want to park there and walk.”
Brown also suggested “promoting exercising and health by encouraging self-awareness of how far you walked, for example, from here to here is a quarter mile.”
While advocating walking, Greg Maynard drew attention to the danger to walkers at pedestrian crosswalks, especially at night for walkers dressed in dark clothing.
“I almost hit someone,” concurred Lynn Stubblefied.
Brown proposed pedestrian activated motion detectors to alert motorists.
Stubblefield expressed concern about lack of parking, citing the example of the pilates studio slated for construction on University Avenue. “The Lease Committee approved the design without parking,” Stubblefield said.
“There are county parking requirements and the owner of the studio will have to conform to those requirements, just like the new bookstore will need to conform,” Gladu said. He went on to point out, “There will be parking opportunities for a fairly long time in areas of the Village that may be developed in the future.”
Greg Maynard noted that adding a bike lane in the downtown area would result in additional loss of parking.
“Why not put the bike lane on Alabama Avenue,” Stubblefield suggested. “Cyclists could enter University Avenue from Sartain Road and other adjoining streets.”
Gladu noted that, like parking, bike lanes would need to be adhered to county regulations since most of the streets in Sewanee were county roads.
Residents also recommended shaded areas and comfortable places to sit.
Offering an additional suggestion to making downtown a welcoming place, Brown said. “I hope the speed limits are lowered and enforced, especially in residential areas. Research shows you’re more likely to know your neighbor where speed limits are lower.”
The next Village update meeting is March 5. Gladu hopes to have results from the storm water study.

​A New Way to Think About Addiction


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
For the Rev. Bude Van Dyke, recovering from addiction can hinge on embracing “spirituality without a religious bias,” a life view he calls “pre-interpretive spirituality.” Since 2014, Van Dyke has been the spiritual director for a large southeast provider of addiction services. His new personal mission is to reach out to Plateau area residents “to connect them” to a new way of understanding addiction as a path to recovery.
Van Dyke employs the 12-Step addiction treatment framework, but he points out people are often repelled by the references to “a higher power” which seems to require them to identify with a particular religion. He sees pre-interpretive spirituality as a way to overcome this roadblock.
“Therapy is absolutely important in treating addiction,” Van Dyke acknowledged, “but there’s also a spiritual piece which is just as essential that doesn’t fit the therapeutic and physical model.”
Van Dyke conceives of spirituality as “the nature of our relationship with what is sacred to us. Sacred is what communicates value. Sometimes it’s just there. Sometimes it happens to us or finds us.”
Van Dyke gives the illustration of a biology professor who took offense at the notion of a supreme being, but the man had little trouble identifying what was sacred to him: “life.” The biology professor and Van Dyke went on to discuss “his relationship with life and how his passion for it led to the study of biology, the study of living matter.”
Our relationship with what’s sacred to us includes our relationship “with other people, places, and events,” according to Van Dyke, “and also our relationship with ourself.”
“During active addiction we demolish our relationship with ourself.” Van Dyke describes the addict brain as a “brutal opportunist” that seizes on every opportunity to interject “negative self-talk. The addict self says, ‘You’ll blow it. You’ll fail. You always do.’ Dismantling self betrayal is the addict’s biggest challenge.”
“Society doesn’t see addiction as a disease,” Van Dyke stressed. “Many people believe the addict just needs to buck up. Just say, no.”
He explains the physical component of the disease as impaired delivery of endorphins, a brain hormone with calming, energizing, and pain relief attributes.
“In the addict, normal brain channels for endorphin delivery aren’t open,” Van Dyke said. “Drugs and alcohol open the channels.”
“The addict brain is a thinker,” Van Dyke insisted. “When the addict decides to change and get sober, the addict brain rationalizes addiction” based on past behavior. “The person who wants to abstain, who wants to get sober, has nothing to hang the belief on that getting sober is possible.”
“Christianity is all about thinking. The Christian faith is just a cerebral enterprise, just head space stuff. I’ve always been in the church, but that didn’t help me get sober.”
Van Dyke found his sacred footing in his Cherokee roots. His great grandmother resided in Tennessee illegally. “She was supposed to be on the reservation,” Van Dyke said. “Initially, my addict brain used that against me—‘You’re not good enough.’”
Then Van Dyke began finding sacred solace in rising before sunrise, “to sit outside and smell and observe.” He embraced Cherokee morning rituals. “My native heritage became a way to make my Christian faith useful to me.”
Van Dyke’s advice to family and friends of addicts is “learn the disease.” He highlighted the importance of understanding addiction as a “broken brain.”
“I want people to see another way to look at addiction. Pre-interpretive spirituality may not be the only approach to spiritual recovery, but it’s the one that’s worked for me for 29 years.”

​Coming Full Circle: Stevenson Returns to Shenanigans


by Sarah Beavers, Messenger Staff Writer
There are some big changes coming to Shenanigans Restaurant in downtown Sewanee, and “they are all positive, exciting new efforts as part of the natural progression of Shenanigans,” said Bill Elder, owner of the 45-year-old restaurant.
At the core of these upcoming initiatives are a few key new team members: catering and events coordinator Sunshine Heath; Nalin King, a pastry and dessert specialist; and chef George Stevenson, C’90.
George is no stranger to the food community on the Mountain. Sitting at the comfort of the L-bar at the restaurant, George recounts his first experience working at Shenanigans, back in the late 1980s.
“Todd, C’87, and Katherine, C’88, Kaderabek, the third owners, would not hire me,” said George. “I began picking up my friend’s shifts. Todd saw me one night and wanted to know what I was doing down there. I told him I was working for Will Houseman.”
“I was hired immediately on the spot,” said George.
George has worked all the jobs one could imagine at Shenanigans, opening, closing, general prep, working the grill, making sandwiches, and running the register.
Legend has it he could pour three pitchers of beer at a time while answering the phone to take an order, and barking out instructions to those working in the front. His made-from-scratch soups were sublime.
He also worked at Shenanigans with another two owners. “I came with the purchase of the building on a couple of occasions,” said George.
Cooking is in George’s blood. He said he got his love of food from his mother, “who is an extraordinary cook.”
Following his passion to work as a professional chef, he left the safety of his home in Sewanee to attend the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. He graduated from there in 1998.
“I enjoy the energy of working in an active business, being able to make decisions and the pressure of working in a kitchen,” said George. “Attending culinary school seemed to be the logical next step.”
He then moved to Seattle, Wash., where he had an internship with the Sheraton Hotel and James Beard Award winner Monique Barbeau. He worked for a number of restaurants including Boom Noodle, Luc Bistro and Bis on Main, plus catering gigs in the Woodinville wine community and at the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery Amphitheater. He also picked up some prep work at another restaurant during the week, where he made the soups. “They were very well received,” said George.
Soup is one of his favorite things to make, and the key is in the stock. “Who does not like a veal demi-glace?” asked George.
“It does take a certain talent to make a pot of soup, and it is what you do up front that makes a recipe work,” said George. “You cannot put a bunch of stuff into a buffalo chopper and expect to get good results.”
After years in the Seattle food scene, he traveled for a while before returning to Sewanee in 2012. He worked as the head chef at Pearl’s Fine Dining and then at the Sewanee Inn.
After George left the Sewanee Inn, Bill called George to see if he was interested in coming back to Shenanigans. “Bill wanted to see if I would help with some new concepts at the restaurant. Plus, work on existing food quality and what we eventually want to do upstairs.”
“Everyone is familiar with George’s immense talents and his contributions to the food community,” said Bill. “I was fearful he would go back to a big city market. I started talking to him about what it would mean for him to stay in Sewanee. We discussed the Shenanigans’ food truck, and dug a little bit deeper about the concept for upstairs. Why shouldn’t that space be food related?”
“Another thing is George is coming back to his roots. It’s my hope that the upstairs space at Shenanigans gives George his next step as a chef,” said Bill. “He’ll have a space where he can experiment with a number of things, and he’ll also be heavily involved with our new catering arm. We’ve batted around several food ideas for the upstairs, and we’re in the process of working those into various concepts. The end goal there is having a consistently open space upstairs with some really great food.”
Bill and George both agree there will be some improvements to the existing downstairs Shenanigans menu in the future. “But nothing is going away,” said Bill. “You will still be able to get a Shenaniwich, a bowl of peanut chicken soup, a patty melt on a paper plate, or that all-important spicy turkey melt.”
“We’ll be going through all the current recipes and tweaking them with George to make sure they are the best they can be and up to the quality everyone knows at Shenanigans,” said Bill.
George agrees about getting back to Shenanigans’ original food roots. “Shenanigans is a home to everybody whether you live here or go to school here,” said George. “I enjoy cooking food for people and the importance of doing that well.”
George starts to work again at Shenanigans on Monday.
“The first thing I am going to do is make a turkey melt,” he said.

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